The Fireman’s Lament

Nepean Times Saturday 12 October 1935 p. 3.
The Fireman's Lament

A poem by Frank Brown©Frank Brown 1935

When you’re signing on at Enfield
And they meet you at the door,
And they tell you that your engine,
Is 1174.

You hear the driver grumble,
But you hear the fireman roar,
When they look at the repair book,
For 1174.

Elements, valves, and pistons,
Burnt off smoke box door,
Engine steaming very badly,
It’s 1174.

I don’t know why they run her,
But the “heads” know what is best,
And there’s a spell if you’re behind her,
When she’s running on the West.

If they put her on a north job,
You can always safely bet,
You’ll see her in the siding,
At Wyong or Morrisett.

By this number I am haunted,
And each day more and more,
It doesn’t matter what I do,
It’s 1174,

Last night my wife she said to me,
“Oh dear, your hands look sore”;
I said. “Yes, I’ve been to Lithgow,
On 1174.

She bought me soap to wash them with,
The best she could procure,
It is called 4711.
Not 1174.

I thought I’d try my luck in Tatt’s,
As I’d often done before,
The winning was 75,
And I held 74.

Disgusted I enlisted,
And went to that awful war,
My regiment number
Was 1174.

Engaged in one great battle.
They were dropping us by the score,
The dead and wounded numbered
Just 1174,

And when the war had ended,
I came back to work once more,
And went 99 to Lithgow,
On 1174.


Published in Frank Brown's book Engine 1174: And Other Verses, Enfield NSW 1948.

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